As the Edmonton Oilers get set to battle the Vancouver Canucks tonight on the west coast, there are a few pregame notes worth mentioning.
Despite having a rocky game on Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets to open up the season, Devan Dubnyk will in fact start tonight for the Oilers. Dubnyk was shelled for 5 goals in the season opener and finished the night with only 23 saves.
Head coach admitted to Chris Westcott from Oilers official website that he considered starting Jason LaBarbera following Dubnyk’s shaky performance, but decided against it after he had a chat with the perceived number one netminder.
“A lot of times I won’t share the conversation but this one I will. I said to him that I am going to assume that is not your best game. He agreed. I told him that a big part of me wanted to immediately go with the other guy but I wanted to know if he wanted another shot at it. He was adamant, he had fight in his voice. He wanted a chance to rebound and that was a great sign for me.”
While it’s promising to hear that Dubnyk has the fight in his voice, Oilers’ fans are hoping it will carry over to his on-ice performance tonight and he can deliver a much more promising performance.
*** Defenseman Denis Grebeshkov is inching closer to his season debut, but it’s doubtful that it comes tonight. Still battling a groin injury, Grebeshkov is listed as “doubtful” for the game against the Canucks, but we could see him in the lineup some time next week.
*** Roberto Luongo will start in goal for the Canucks despite giving taking the loss in their season opener on Thursday in San Jose. Luongo made 31 saves in a losing effort and everyone knows that all eyes are on him this season and whether he can return to form to help the Canucks put together a deep playoff run.
*** Canucks’ forward Alex Burrows will not play tonight against the Oilers. Head coach John Tortorella confirmed the speculation on Saturday that the pesky forward would not dress tonight and went on to further explain that Burrows could miss the next couple of weeks. The injury was not disclosed.
Burrows is usually a staple on the Canucks top line alongside Henrik and Daniel Sedin. If it’s not Burrows on the top line then Zack Kassian has been seeing some playing time with the twins, but we all know why he isn’t playing tonight.
With Burrows out, the Canucks will dress 11 forwards and 7 defenseman instead of recalling someone from their AHL club.
Let’s go Oil!